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Critical tips from today’s news

How to tell which ads are working

If you’re like a lot of small-business owners, you probably believe your advertising efforts are working because you’re making sales. But do you know which ads are working?

If not, it’s time to get a better handle on your advertising’s ROI. After all, why waste money buying advertising that isn’t working?

You need to look at two things: which specific ads bring in customers, and which advertising media results in new business. An ad placed in a weekly shopper-type publication may draw new business week after week, while the same ad place in a local, tabloid-format newspaper may not attract any new customers. Or, vice versa.

You can find out which ads and media are producing customers by tracking responses to your ads. …read more at How To Tell Which Ads Are Working – SmallBizResource.com, published 5 March 2009.

Flickr photo credit: Bright Star

By | March 9, 2009|Blog, Small Business|0 Comments

Making the most of your sales pitches

What do clients really want and need from salespeople? What do they want from the sales process? Well, although it may seem to many frustrated salespeople that what clients want is to be left alone, this isn’t entirely the case, says sales expert Randy Illig.

“The idea that they don’t want to talk to salespeople isn’t true,” insists Illig, a senior consultant with FranklinCovey’s Sales Performance Group. “They just don’t want to talk to all salespeople.”

Clients want a competent salesperson focused on their numbers and needs, not on his or her own sales objectives, says Illig. They want an efficient sales process that results in good decisions that work to their benefit.

“And the process should add value to customers by exploring choices and assessing the impact of those choices so clients can decide with confidence,” he explains. “Because at the highest level, the biggest fear clients have is that someone will talk them into a poor decision and a bad outcome.” ..read more at Making the Most of Your Sales Pitches – NFIB.com, published 4 March 2009

Flickr photo credit: Shutter Daddy

By | March 9, 2009|Blog, Small Business|0 Comments

Solving a social problem, without going the nonprofit route

It used to be that people who wanted to solve a social problem — like lack of access to clean water or inadequate housing for the poor — created a charity. Today, many start a company instead.

D.light, a company cofounded by Sam Goldman, who spent four years in the Peace Corps in Benin before earning a master’s degree in business from Stanford University, is an example. Mr. Goldman started D.light with the mission of replacing millions of kerosene lamps now used in poor, rural parts of the world with solar-powered lamps.

Having used kerosene lamps himself while living in Benin, Mr. Goldman learned firsthand of kerosene’s problems — it is expensive, it provides poor light and it is extremely dangerous. When the son of his West African neighbor nearly died after suffering severe burns from spilled kerosene, Mr. Goldman said he realized he wanted to create a venture to solve both the social and economic problems caused by these lamps. His time in Benin also convinced him, he said, that only as a business could a project become large enough to reach the great number of people who use these lamps as their primary source of light.

“We could have done it as a nonprofit over a hundred years, but if we wanted to do it in five or 10 years, then we believed it needed to be fueled by profit,” he said. “That’s the way to grow.” …read more on this at Solving a Social Problem, Without Going the Nonprofit Route – NYTimes.com, published 4 March 2009.

Flickr photo credit: jurvetson

By | March 9, 2009|Blog, Nonprofits|0 Comments